What is a battery compartment?
This is defined as an area or enclosure that is intended to house batteries exclusively.
The battery compartment should be well ventilated. Lead acid batteries, especially the wet cell type, will emit explosive gases. There are numerous interpretations of battery installation and at the very least, the batteries should be contained in a unit that prevents them moving around. For example, a battery installed on the swim of a boat may be prevented from moving by being contained in a purpose built, insulated, tray. It may be open at the sides but could be capped by a wooden or plastic ventilated lid and strapped down by a ratchet strap.
Where Can You Install Batteries?
Batteries can be installed in accommodation areas or in engine bays.Check with your examiner regarding your specific circumstance, but here are the general guidelines covering both.
In accommodation areas the battery must be installed in gas tight areas that are ventilated to the outside. These may or may not require assisted fan ventilation and if you are in any way unsure, check with your marine examiner/surveyor.
If the battery compartment is in the engine bay, no specific ventilation is required so long as the bay itself is ventilated externally.
Securing Your Battery
The battery must be secured so that a movement of 10mm in any direction is not exceeded and it must remain secure at up to 45 degrees from horizontal.
It is acceptable to secure the battery by straps, clamps or a framework. In any case the battery compartment must be secured permanently to the structure of the vessel.
Where ever your battery is located, it should not be beneath any LPG or petrol installation including lockers, pipework and fuel tanks. The battery should be insulated from the metal hull as any leakage of electrolyte can eat through the metal structure of your boat.
Put a Lid On It
The lid over the battery is designed to prevent the terminal coming into contact with any conducting object such as a dropped spanner or set of keys. It should be of non-corrosive and insulating material such as wood, vulcanized rubber or plastics and should contain ventilation to prevent the build up of gasses. It is acceptable for a deck board to form a battery cover so long as it is not required to be removed for any purpose other that to access the batteries.
Purpose built battery boxes are available from most chandlers
which simplify the installation of single batteries such as starter batteries. In all cases, refer to your local engineer, the Boat Safety Scheme examiner or marine surveyor for up to date compliance advice.